Tis the season to be jolly and to spend money. If you aren’t careful during the holidays, those bills will add up. Here’s how you can have some fun without experiencing a January credit card hangover.
List and Track Your Expenses
Maybe you have decided to budget a set amount on family presents. That’s great. However, many people forget about other holiday costs such as impulse buys, office gifts, decorations, crafts, entertaining supplies (food, beverages, catering), travel expenses, events with friends (restaurants, movies, concerts, seasonal activities) as well as charitable donations. And, suddenly, that $500 you budgeted for presents has turned into $2,000 worth of charges. Yikes! To prevent overspending, make a list of all your possible costs. Then, write down how much you can spend on each category. Finally, stick to your plan by either paying with cash or using an expense tracker app.
Set Up a Holiday Savings Account
Rather than struggling to find extra money even December, save up a little bit all year long. Some banks and credit unions offer Christmas Club or Holiday Helper accounts. These accounts allow you to deposit money from your paycheck directly into your savings automatically. By putting in as little $25 every two weeks, you’ll have an extra $650 by December 31st. If your bank doesn’t offer these types of savings accounts, no problem, look into setting up your own money market account or certificate of deposit, both of which may offer better interest rates.
Find a Seasonal Job
One of the best ways to cover your expenses is to make more money. If you have the time and you’re up for the challenge, consider taking a second job. Many retailers, restaurants, and seasonal attractions are looking for extra staff during the holidays. You may be able to work your regular 9 to 5, and then add on some evenings or weekends during November and December for an additional paycheck. If you are having trouble finding an opportunity, call your local employment agency. Many firms work directly with area businesses to help them get through the end-of-the-year rush.
Be Creative and Spend Less
Although spending less money may not sound ideal, give it a try. For example, instead of going out for dinner and a show, invite friends over for frozen pizzas and a movie on your streaming service. You quickly could reduce that evening’s cost by 50% or more. Other ideas include exchanging names instead of buying gifts for everyone or searching for free holiday events rather than splurging on more expensive activities. You may discover these options are not only cheaper but also less stressful and more fun.
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